Edward William Sharp

I thought I would write about Edward William Sharp today, known to the family as Uncle Ed.  He has a tender, yet thorny, position in the family.

Ed Sharp and Bob (?) 17 February 1949

Ed Sharp and Bob (?) 17 February 1949

Edward William Sharp was born 25 October 1887 in Plain City, Weber, Utah, the seventh child to Milo and Lilly Sharp.  My Great Grandmother, Ethel, was Ed’s younger sister, number 11 in line.  I have written more of Ethel’s marriage to Jack Ross.  Ed Sharp comes into the family line more closely when Ethel died in 1925.  She left behind five children, namely: June, Milo, Paul, Harold, and Earnest.  The four children were taken back to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho in 1925 to be raised by their Ross grandparents, James and Catherine Ross, while Jack got back on his feet.  As winter came and progressed the family struggled.  Earnest passed away the fall of 1925 in Rupert, Idaho.  Jack was gone for unknown reasons and James and Catherine called Ethel’s family to come get the four children.  Starting that winter of 1925-26, Milo Ross was raised by his Uncle Ed.  June went to live with her paternal grandparents, the Streeters in Ogden.  Paul and Harold were raised by Ed’s siblings, Vic Hunt and Del Sharp respectively.  Sadly, Paul fell from a loft in a barn in 1932 and broke his arm and suffered a concussion that would take his life in 1932.

Edward Sharp met and married Lillie Elva East 13 May 1909 in Plain City.  She was born 16 February 1888 in nearby Warren, Weber, Utah.  Together they had 10 children.

Edna Louise Sharp born 11 January 1910 in Plain City.

Florence Evelyn Sharp born 30 June 1911 in Plain City.

Marjorie Lillian Sharp born 23 June 1913 in Plain City.

Ethel Sharp born 8 July 1917 in Plain City.

Elmer George Sharp born 15 June 1919 in Plain City.

Ruby Elaine Sharp born 13 February 1922 in Plain City.

Ruby Sharp

Ruby Sharp

Milo Riley Sharp born 27 November 1927 in Ogden.

Milo Riley Sharp (1924 - 1955)

Milo Riley Sharp (1924 – 1955)

Josephine Sharp born 18 March 1927 in Ogden.

Edward Junior Sharp born 24 January 1930 in Ogden.

Dean Sharp born 28 April 1935 in Ogden.

As a reminder, Grandpa, Milo Ross, was born in 1921 in Plain City.  He falls right in the middle of the entire family and became one of the siblings.  To tell the difference between Milo Ross and Milo Sharp, I will use their last name.

Milo James Ross

Milo James Ross

Unfortunately, things were not quite that easy.  Ed farmed a nice little farm in Plain City.  He also had some cows, pigs, and other animals.  The family grew up in the Depression with all the anxieties and difficulties that came with it.  Fortunately the farm was mostly paid for and the farm provided for itself and the family.

Despite technically being blood to Ed, Milo Ross was treated differently than the other children.  Milo Ross was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family.  When the family was done with the meal, then Milo Ross could eat.  Often alone.  Milo Ross was expected to work longer than the rest of the family, into the time while the rest of them ate.  Milo Ross was also expected to arise earlier and get things in order for the day before the rest of the family.  He did not often get to eat with the rest of the family for breakfast and only got some bread and milk.  He was also given some of the more undesirable jobs around the farm.  For example, it was his job to tend the onions which often left him smelling of the onions.

L-R: Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp, Howard Hunt, Milo Sharp, Ruby Sharp

L-R: Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp, Howard Hunt, Milo Sharp, Ruby Sharp

Ed also had some drinking issues and had a certain temper.  Of course his family saw the issues that arose as part of the alcohol, but it was Milo Ross who felt it.  He was the one who suffered the wrath of Ed’s drinking bouts at the end of a belt or sometimes worse.  While Milo Ross loved his cousin-siblings, the relationship was not as kindred with Ed.

On Horse l-r: Harold Ross, Howard Hunt, Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp (arm only), Janelle England, Eddie Sharp.  In front l-r: Ruby Sharp, Lucille Maw, and Milo Riley Sharp.

On Horse l-r: Harold Ross, Howard Hunt, Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp (arm only), Janelle England, Eddie Sharp. In front l-r: Ruby Sharp, Lucille Maw, and Milo Riley Sharp.

Ruby Sharp, Lois Robbins, Milo Ross, Milo Sharp

Ruby Sharp, Lois Robbins, Milo Ross, Milo Sharp

Milo Ross was only one year in age from Ruby who he ran around the countryside with.  They were close enough that they would hold hands when nobody else was around.  They did quite a bit together.  He was also close to Milo Sharp, but he was still three years behind him in age.  The older siblings, Edna (who went by Louise), Florence, and Ethel were good to him, but were close to each other and did mostly their own thing.  Ed kept Milo Ross busy that he did not get as much time with the younger children but he grew close with Josephine and Edward (known as Eddie in the family).  Dean was young enough that he was around him some, but did not have as close of a relationship.

L-R: Ruby Sharp, Harold Ross, Milo Sharp, Milo Ross, Paul Ross, Ethel Sharp, and Bob Martin.

L-R: Ruby Sharp, Harold Ross, Milo Sharp, Milo Ross, Paul Ross, Ethel Sharp, and Bob Martin.

As I mentioned in the story of Ed’s grandparents William & Mary Ann Sharp, the Sharp and Stoker families came to Utah as converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A number of issues arose in Plain City and families left the church.  Ed’s parents followed that suit remaining with the Episcopalian faith.  Ed and Lillie did as well, but were not very active.  The Mormons continued to work on bringing the families back to the church.  The Sharp family started to work through Delwin’s family first and the faith spread through Ed’s nieces and nephews and into his own family.  Only one of Ed’s siblings joined the LDS faith while alive, and that was Vic in 1975.

Edward Sharp, Delwin & Vilate Sharp, 13 August 1957

Edward Sharp, Delwin & Violet Sharp, 13 August 1957

Marjorie, Ethel, and Ruby all joined through the waters of baptism on 12 May 1939.  Milo Ross joined 2 July 1939 (only after 18 as Ed would not give consent otherwise).  Louise, Florence, Milo Sharp, Josephine, and Eddie all joined 3 January 1943.  Dean was the last on 31 October 1932, he was not 8 in January to join with the remainder of his siblings.

As soon as Milo was of age, he looked for opportunities to get out.  He eventually married, moved in with his in-laws, and then the impending war took his services abroad.

Lillie East Sharp died 4 September 1942 while separated from her husband.  She had started divorce proceedings but died before they completed.  She was buried in Plain City.

Ed died 24 August 1962 in Othello, Adams, Washington.  The family brought him home and buried him in Plain City too.

Ross-Donaldson Wedding

David and Dena Donaldson are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Gladys Maxine to Milo James Ross, son of Jack Ross and the late Ethel Ross.  They were married in the Donaldson home on 8th Street in Ogden, Utah on 4 April 1942.  (This post originally appeared in 2010 and is reposed due to Grandpa’s death)

Gladys is a 1940 graduate of Ogden High School.

Milo is a 1939 graduate of Weber High School.  He is currently employed with American Packing and Provisioning Company as a supervisor in Ogden.

The couple will make their home in Plain City.

While short and sweet, there is much more of a story behind those words.  Milo and Gladys met  in 1940 when Gladys and her sisters rode their bikes all the way to a celebration in Plain City.  Later they would meet at the Berthana, which included a dance hall on the second floor (built in Ogden about 1914).  The Berthana later converted to a roller skating rink before closing in the 1970’s.  The building is still there although I do not know what the use for the building is currently.

David Delos Donaldson and Berendena Van Leeuwen are Gladys’ parents.  Read more of her parents at this link: Donaldson-Van Leeuwen Family.  David was a plumber by trade who had lung problems from being gassed in the Argonne of France in World War I.  He suffered from lung ailments the rest of his life.  He mostly worked in the Ogden area but worked prior to marriage in Phoenix, Arizona and Twin Falls, Idaho.  He also sought work in Boulder City, Nevada during the depression and as a steam and pipe fitter during World War II in Napa, California.  Apparently during World War II he worked almost exclusively in submarines.  You can read more of their marriage and family at the link above.  She went by the name of Dena her entire life.

Gladys and Maxine Donaldson ages 5 and 3.

Dena grew up LDS and David did not.  David’s parents were not active LDS and most of David’s siblings joined the LDS church between the ages of 10 and 22.  David and one brother did not.  Dena saw that all her children were raised LDS with little difficulty from David.  Apparently smoking is what kept him from being baptized (he picked up smoking after being gassed because he said it soothed his lungs).  When the time would come for Milo and Gladys to marry, they wished to be married in the temple.   For whatever reason, the Bishop determined that he was not going to allow them to be sealed without David being a member.  I do not know which Bishop, but I have a suspicion it was Gladys’ Bishop and that he knew the Donaldson family.  He probably hoped to bring errant David around so his daughter could get married.  The plan backfired.  It would not have worked anyhow because David was pretty set on Gladys marrying a wealthy man and would not have minded if the wedding had not gone through.  Milo said they wanted to get married and were not interested in waiting around for a Bishop to figure out what he was doing.  A week before they were actually married, they decided to elope.  They packed up and drove to Evanston, Wyoming on snow covered roads.  They arrived and decided they better do it proper with family around.  They enjoyed a meal and drove back to Ogden on a very snowy set of roads.  Leading them to get married in the Donaldson home the next week or so.  It would take them another 34 years before they finally made it to the temple to get sealed.  Perhaps the Bishop was inspired.

They married in April and World War II was in full swing.  They rented a place in Ogden for a few weeks until moving to Plain City and rented there (on 4700?) until they built a home after the war.  Milo and a group of buddies then went off to Fort Douglas to enlist in October 1942 rather than wait until they were drafted.  They anticipated at least a few more days or weeks in Utah before being shipped off.  However, Milo was put on a train that same day to Camp Lewis in Washington.  He spent the next two to four months there, he cannot remember for sure.  Gladys would move to Camp Lewis to be with him through basic training.  By this point the two knew they were expecting a baby.

Milo shipped out for Needles, California to Camp Ibis.  Due to his experience with building, he was one of the men asked to lay out some of the buildings for the latrines and then helped in starting the construction of those buildings.  Their division stayed there a few months before heading off to San Francisco from which he was put on a boat and headed to Hawaii.  He landed in Hawaii on the 4th of July 1943 with the loudspeaker welcoming the men to Hawaii and announcing the birth of a son to Sergeant Ross.  I have written of that baby at this link: Baby Milo Ross.

Gladys would live with her parents in Ogden until Milo returned from the rigors of war.  Her parents moved from their address on 8th Street down to Washington Boulevard during this time.

Milo worked for American Packing and Provisioning Company some in high school and on afterward until he went into the service.  American Pack would be sold to Swift & Company in 1949.  This packing plant would remain in use until the 1970’s when it was closed.

I have written previously about Milo’s loss of his mother in 1925 and her family keeping him from having contact with his father, John William Ross.  Here is the link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.  He was raised by his Uncle Edward William Sharp in Plain City.

Anyhow, the family would go on to have 2 more children in 1946 and 1948.  Milo received a homestead in Washington State in the late 1940’s, early 1950’s, but I do not know more about it.  The homestead is believed to have been abandoned because of medical needs of Judy and the family returned to a newly built home in Plain City around 1948 or 1949.  The family then built the current home at 2532 N. 4100 W. in 1955 and have resided there since.

The Burks

John and Charlotte Burk and the four boys John, George, Jim, Robert

John and Charlotte Burk and the four boys John, George, Jim, Robert

Again, scanning photos for some friends.  This photo intrigued me.  I would like to introduce you to the Burk family.  I assume this picture is at their home in Buffalo, Washington, Pennsylvania.  They were living in Buffalo on both the 1920 and 1930 censuses.

John Davis Burk was born 29 November 1873 in Buffalo to Henry and Mary Earnest Burk.  Somewhere along the way he met Charlotte Fyfe.

Charlotte Fyfe

Charlotte Fyfe

Charlotte Fyfe was born 15 August 1893 in Scofield, Carbon, Utah to William Weir and Christina Wylie Fyfe (sometimes spelled Fife).

I have written of Charlotte’s nephew, William Weir Bridges, and sister, Agnes Fyfe Ashcraft.

John and Charlotte married 14 October 1914 in St Anthony, Fremont, Idaho.  The marriage certificate indicates she lived in Lyman, Madison, Idaho and he lived in Washington, Washington, Idaho.

John and Charlotte had at least 7 children.  I don’t know much on them, but here is the limited information I have.

John W Burk was born 17 August 1915 in Idaho and died 6 July 1986.  He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in McMurray, Washington, Pennsylvania.

George H Burk was born 4 March 1919 in Buffalo and died 7 October 1986 in Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania.

James Edward Burk was born 23 September 1921 in Buffalo and died 8 November 2007 in Washington, Pennsylvania.

George & James Burk

George & James Burk

Robert W Burk was born around 1923 in Buffalo and died.

John, George, James, and Robert Burk

John, George, James, and Robert Burk

Robert Burk

Robert Burk

 

Joseph E Burk was born 26 December 1924 in Buffalo and died 23 January 2012 in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Theodore Smith Burk was born 13 August 1927 in Buffalo and died 31 March 2008 in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Dora Marie Burk was born in around 1936 and as far as I can tell is still alive.

John Davis Burk died 1 October 1963.  Charlotte died 13 January 1973 in Washington, Pennsylvania.

John Nelson Jonas

I thought I would write on my Great Grandfather’s brother in anticipation of his birthday, he would be 125 this year.  Growing up, I never knew of Uncle John Nelson Jonas likely because nobody in my family ever knew him.  He passed away at the ripe age of 30 in 1918, a victim of Influenza.  The family knew of his widow as she lived on Main Street in Richmond, Cache, Utah and associated with their children.  Since I have some pictures of his family, I thought I would make them available.  My Great Grandfather Joseph Nelson Jonas did not live to be much older and so personal memories of him were lost many decades ago as well.

John Nelson Jonas was the fourth of seven children born in the marriage of Annetta Josephine Nelson and Joseph Jonas 14 August 1888 in or near Ellensburg, Kittitas, Washington.  He was christened 10 September 1888 at St. Andrews in Ellensburg.  About 1896, John’s mother, Annie, went to the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Insane in Fancher, Spokane, Washington (she is listed as Ann J Jonas).  She was in and out of hospitals throughout her life but as John was one of the older children, he would have known his mother a little better.

Annie got out of the Eastern Washington Hospital 31 October 1899 and went home to Ellensburg and continued to be a handful for the family.  The family on the 1900 Census was in Cle Elum, Kittitias, Washington.  Although that census does not include Annie and the census that year has Joseph Sr in both Cle Elum and Spokane about two weeks apart in June 1900.  Annie must have been back in Fancher.  Annie’s sister, Charlotte, visited in 1901.  Due to Annie’s mental and emotional state, and with Joseph’s approval, the Jonas family went to Utah to stay temporarily with Annie’s brother, Nels August Nelson.  Uncle August lived in Crescent, Salt Lake, Utah and the Jonas party arrived 3 July 1901 from Washington.

John, Joseph, and William Jonas probably right before moving to Utah in 1901.  The photo is stamped with Ellensburg on the matting.

John, Joseph, and William Jonas probably right before moving to Utah in 1901. The photo is stamped with Ellensburg on the matting.

Joseph for one reason or another went back to Washington with the oldest child Margaret.  Nels suggested it was legal issues; it might have just been the farm that needed attention.  Annie’s issues were such that Nels and his wife, Fidelia, signed an affidavit of insanity and had her admitted to the Utah State Hospital 1 November 1901.

Joseph had been raised as a Catholic and Annie Nelson had been raised LDS.  Annie decided she did not like LDS men and wanted to marry a Gentile and did so.  The children were raised Catholic in Washington.  Now in Utah, Uncle August made sure the children learned about the LDS faith.  The three boys, John, William, and Joseph, elected to be baptized LDS on 10 January 1902 in Crescent by their Uncle August in an ice-covered Jordan River.  All three were confirmed 12 January 1902 by Jaime P Jensen.  Rosa joined 6 February 1902, also in Crescent under the hand of Uncle August in a hole chipped in the Jordan River.  Margaret did not join as she stayed near her father in Washington.

In 1904, Rosa married a boy, Christian Andersen, from Richmond.  They married in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  They moved to 137 E 100 S in Richmond.  John and his brothers resided with Uncle August until after their mother passed in 1907, then they would regularly and for prolonged periods stay with Rosa in Richmond.  William and John were both ordained Elders 6 January 1908 in Crescent.  In Richmond, both were again ordained Seventies 19 September 1909 by Charles Hart (1866 – 1934, 1st Council of Seventy).  John was endowed in the Logan LDS Temple 1 October 1909 and left to serve in the Southern States Mission.  He left 10 October 1909, arrived at Chattanooga, Hamilton, Tennessee 18 Oct, Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama 21 Oct, and formally starting 25 October 1909.  The 1910 Census lists John at home in Crescent.

I understand John attended Brigham Young College in Logan but I don’t know any of the details of when or if he graduated.  Nellie told her nephew, Ellis Jonas, that John was the only one of the brothers who could keep a level head.  Just remember the source of that compliment – his wife.

John met Nellie Armina Andersen, a cousin of Rosa’s husband Christian, while staying in Richmond.  Nellie and John fell in love and were married 5 June 1912 in the Logan, Cache, Utah at the LDS Temple.

John and Nellie (Andersen) Jonas

John and Nellie (Andersen) Jonas

The above photo indicates it was taken in Salt Lake City at Cusworth’s Studio.  We don’t know the occasion, but it must have been something to dress up for, or just a sitting for a portrait.  Either way, the photo was shared with my Great Grandmother.

The wedding announcement in the Logan Republican on 25 June 1925, “On June 5th Mr. John Jonas and Miss Nellie Anderson of this place were married in the Logan Temple.  Mr. Jonas is managing his Uncle’s farm at Murray, Utah.  After a family reception at the home of the bride’s mother, Mrs. Armina Anderson, the couple departed for Murray where they will make their future home.”

John and Nellie had three children.

Calvin Andersen Jonas born 6 August 1913 and died 17 June 1991 both in Richmond.  He married Viola Florence Chapman (1921 – 2006) on 30 March 1957 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.  Calvin lived in his mother’s home until he passed away and then Viola remained in the same home until her passing.  It was Calvin who took the land and created a trailer park on the rest of the property to the welcome or chagrin of Richmond.  Calvin and Viola did not have any children, although Viola brought children to the marriage from her previous marriage.  I last visited Viola about 2005 and Viola had her daughter Dixie living with her to take care of her, the trailer park, and their ceramic store.

Melvin Andersen Jonas born 13 March 1917 in Richmond and drowned 16 Jul 1944 in San Marcos, Hays, Texas while he was in training at San Marcos Army Air Field.  Apparently he had just married Doris Everts on 17 March 1944 somewhere in Texas.  It is not believed they had any children.  Melvin was a lieutenant in the Army.

Melvin Portrait

Melvin’s Portrait before leaving for the war

John and Nellie purchased a home 3 April 1917 on the corner of Main and 200 E in Richmond (now 195 E Main).  The entire lot one, block 25 of Richmond City came with the home for $1,200.00.  They moved in when Melvin was only a few days old.  When John registered for the World War I Draft, he indicated he was a laborer at Utah Condensed Milk Company in Richmond.

WWI Draft Registration

I have included a copy of the full Draft Registration.  It is interesting to note John’s signature on the first page.

Nellie became pregnant and while with their third children tragedy struck.  John caught the spreading Influenza virus in the epidemic of 1918 and passed away shortly before Christmas on 19 December 1918 at home in Richmond.  Nellie gave birth to their last child months later.

Our cousin, Carvel Jonas wrote of John’s death, “‘Prior to 1974, 38 major flu outbreaks had been recorded, including the disastrous pandemic in 1918 which attached an estimated 500 million people, leaving 20 million dead,’ according to Science Digest March 1975.  The severity of the 1918 pandemic was due to the fact that it lasted for more than 14 months; ordinary epidemics in the average community last no more than six weeks before running their course,’ quoted from ‘The Encyclopedia of Common Diseases, p 722; by the Staff of Prevention Magazine, co 1976′.  Unfortunately John was one of the estimated 20 million who died.”

Carvel also writes, “Before John died he would play hide and seek with his two boys.  After John died the boys thought that their father was still playing the game and would try to find him when Nellie would come home.”

His obituary in the Deseret News stated, “Funeral of John Jonas.  Richmond, Dec 30 – Funeral services were held Sunday for John Jonas who died of Pneumonia, following influenza.  Mrs. A. A. Thomas and W.J. Thomas of Salt Lake furnished music.  The speakers were Bishop P.N. Nelson, Bishop J.L. McCarrey, and A.S. Schow.  The deceased is survived by a wife and two small children and several brothers and sisters.  The flu conditions have so well improved that the local health board has permitted the opening of places of amusement.”

Armina Andersen Jonas was born 5 March 1919 in Richmond and died 30 March 2011 in St. George, Washington, Utah.  She married Don Farnes (1916 – 1978) 10 March 1937 in Logan.  Don was gone by the time I was born, but I remember stopping to visit Armina at her home in Kimberly, Twin Falls, Idaho with my Grandma in the late 1980’s.  I stopped the last time in Kimberly about 2008 shortly before she moved to live with her daughter in Southern Utah.

Calvin, Armina, Nellie, and Melvin Jonas about 1925

Calvin, Armina, Nellie, and Melvin Jonas about 1925

Nellie remarried to Arnold Thornley (1893 – 1969) on 14 April 1926 in Logan.  It must not have been a very long marriage as very few seemed to remember him.

Nellie continued to live in their home until she passed away 11 December 1953 in Salt Lake City of myocarditis.

Her obituary stated, “Nellie A. Jonas – Richmond, Cache County – Mrs. Nellie Andersen Jonas, 64, died Friday night in a Salt Lake hospital after an operation.  Born July 26, 1889 at Richmond, daughter of George and Armina Carson Andersen.  Resident in Richmond entire life.  Married to John N. Jonas in 1912, in Logan L.D.S. Temple.  He died in 1918.  Active in L.D.S. Church…”  I need to get a copy of the full obituary to share it.

John and Nellie are buried together in the Richmond Cemetery.  All three children are buried within a stone’s throw.  John’s father and Nellie’s parents are also a stone’s throw away.

Weiser, Idaho

Weiser, Idaho

Weiser, Idaho

This photo was in the pictures of my Great Great Grandmother, Martha Christiansen Coley.  I don’t know why.  She had brothers who worked in Washington State and perhaps they sent this as a post card if they traveled through Weiser, but there was not writing on the back or any indication it was mailed.  The picture is of the train station in Weiser, Washington, Idaho.

Presidents Day

In honour of Presidents Day this year I thought I would post a couple of pictures I have regarding Presidents of the United States.

Brad Hales, me, Anna Badger, and Jeana Stuart

Brad Hales, me, Anna Badger, and Jeana Stuart

Bush and Cheney Inauguration in 2008

Bush and Cheney Inauguration in 2008 in front of the US Capitol

George Washington statute by the Turnbull Commission of Five.  Adams, Jefferson, Washington, all became Presidents.

George Washington statue by the Trumbull Declaration of Independence.  Adams, Jefferson, Washington, all became Presidents, in US Capitol, Washington, DC

Martha and George Washington tombs

Martha and George Washington tombs in Mt Vernon, Virginia
Washington Equestrian Statute with Jefferson standing in front

Washington Equestrian Statue with Jefferson standing in front in Richmond, Virginia

Washington as a Mason in Alexandria, Virginia

Washington as a Mason in Alexandria, Virginia

James Monroe tomb, Richmond, Virginia

James Monroe tomb, Richmond, Virginia

Plaque on James Monroe's tomb

Plaque on James Monroe’s tomb

John Tyler Grave

John Tyler Grave in Richmond, Virginia

John Quincy and Louisa Adams' tombs

John Quincy and Louisa Adams’ tombs in Quincy, Massachusetts

John and Abigail Adams' tombs

John and Abigail Adams’ tombs in Quincy, Massachusetts

Thomas Jefferson's tombstone near Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone near Charlottesville, Virginia

That is pretty much the closest I got to any of these Presidents, that I can prove.  I have also been the resting spots of William Howard Taft, Harry S Truman, John F Kennedy.

Remember, Remember

Despite also being popular for Guy Fawkes Day which recently passed, Remember, Remember also relates to Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or as we treat it in the United States, Veterans Day.  As an American, the day is more a holiday than a solemn occasion of reflection or remembrance.  Nevertheless, I thought I would honor it this week.

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

Interestingly, we find many people signing up for secession from the United States.  I find it interesting that Guy Fawkes Day and Remembrance Day are so close on the calendar and their memorable phrases start with the same repetition of the word “Remembrance”.  We seceded from the empire of Great Britain (which used to celebrate Empire Day on 24 May) and won the battle so secession became a legal right in the new colony.  Then part of that new colony seceded and lost the battle so secession was no longer a legal right.  The battle over secession is 1-1 on our soil but the latest precedent is against it.  Our Declaration of Independence is not a legally binding document, but it certainly underlines the presumption of which the nation was founded, and overturned in the Civil War.

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

Either way, we honor the veterans on both sides of those conflicts in this nation.  It just depends on where you live for which side you might feel a little more inclination.  Here in the west, we really acceded into the United States rather than won our right to be a part of this nation.  The French and Indian, 1812, and Civil War don’t mean much to us in Idaho.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, Nov 2005

When it comes to the world wars of our century, we have a part to play.  Plus it certainly helps to have people we personally know who served and fought in these battles.  Most of us know people who lost loved ones in these two wars.  Hence these wars and accompanying veterans are more honored at present.  In these wars we fought against forced accession into whatever nation was seeking to obtain.

World War II monument, National Mall, Washington, DC, Nov 2005

Then we found ourselves during Korea and Vietnam in what is named the Cold War.  We fought against forced accession by nations we did not agree with (we ignored the rest) but also sought to help other nations secede and ultimately become free and independent.  We helped win that battle with the freedom of nations that were under the control of the United Soviet Socialist Republic.  Elsewhere in the world, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom continued to allow other nations to become independent and we supported that movement.

Anna Badger, Jeana Stuart, and Brad Hales at the Iwo Jima monument in Arlington, Virginia, Nov 2005

American policy and law is less than clear on what exactly our position is on secession.  The national mood towards our veterans does not even seem to be as clear cut as it has been in times past.  A divide continues to build.  I am not really sure over what.  Whether we are for or against secession, those who are willing to fight for that right, rightly or wrongly, deserve our honor.  After all, far too many of them gave the greatest sacrifice a person can give.  We find it much more noble when a person voluntarily gives their life (whether they live or die) than those who are not allowed to choose to do so (but not to diminish their sacrifice).  I honor our veterans because of what they give and those who give their all.  Remember, those who live beyond the conflict still have to live with it the rest of their lives.  May we honor all veterans who fight for their cause (are terrorists veterans?).

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington, VA, Nov 2005